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The News Column Joseph Mooney MP - June 2022

July 14, 2022 Share

Digital exclusion of rural Southland must not be ignored

Reliable connectivity, whether digital or mobile coverage, is a critical infrastructure must-have for rural communities in our Southland region that can no longer be ignored.

People living in isolated rural areas and without sufficient connectivity face becoming “digitally excluded” from society as modern lives move online.  They face barriers to participating fully in society due to connectivity issues.

Their digital exclusion challenges include poor local internet services, no access to high-speed data and an inability to work and educate from home, or the ability to make an emergency call when needed.

With COVID and lockdowns, many more Government and other services have moved online.  

As well as the increasing need for online transactions to pay taxes or bills or for grocery shopping, many have also turned to connecting socially online.

The inability for some to do so reliably serves to highlight just how deficient some areas in our region are of reliable connectivity infrastructure.

Every part of New Zealand should have quality connectivity and mobile coverage and that includes our Southland region.  

Parliament will be debating the issue of digital exclusion and connectivity in the coming months, and I want to ensure our local community’s voices are heard.  

With the future increasingly becoming digital, everyone must have the tools they need to be a part of our digital world.

We must take urgent action to uplift rural connectivity and ensure communities affected can get online and have sufficient mobile coverage.

Melissa Lee, List MP and National Spokesperson for Broadcasting & Media, Digital Economy and Communications, will be joining me at a Public Meeting to discuss broadband connectivity and mobile coverage issues in our region.

We would like to hear about people’s personal experiences and challenges with connectivity where they live. 

We want to ensure our rural communities are not left behind when it comes to reliable connectivity and digital inclusion in our society.  We hope you can join us and share your thoughts and ideas for solutions to the connectivity issues we face.

Information on the meeting can be found on my website at josephmooney.national.org.nz/events.

ENDS

Lakes Weekly Column Joseph Mooney MP - June 2022

July 14, 2022 Share

Celebrating Southland volunteers 

Every day, throughout the Southland Electorate, committed people give their time to help others generously.

It's appropriate, therefore, that there is a week dedicated to celebrating volunteers in our communities. 

As the Member of Parliament for Southland, it is a privilege to use this year's National Volunteer Week to thank our volunteers for all the hard work you and your organisation do for and in our communities.

Volunteering is very much part of the Kiwi way of life. It is estimated that more than 1.2 million Kiwi volunteers contribute in myriad ways to their fellow man through sport, arts and culture, conservation, health, social services, police, or education.

That is more than one million New Zealanders, averaging over 3 million hours every week, who provide a backbone to community development and help change the lives of many by giving back to their community.

The Southland electorate is no exception.  

This year's theme is 'Time to reflect, Dream, Shine. This is a theme evident in the many ways volunteering activity occurs around our region. 

Mahi aroha, doing work for love, is happening all around us. 

Whether it is by helping out at the Sally's Op-Shop, feeding many through Baskets of Blessing or providing advice at the Citizens Advice Bureau.

There are also many opportunities to volunteer support to causes through the Whakatipu Reforestation Trust, Whakatipu Wilding Conifer Control Group and the Queenstown Trails Trust.

Volunteers support the work of the Queenstown Police Prevention team at the newly re-opened Arrowtown Police Station.

The Southern Wellbeing Trust and community partners' workshops supporting mental health and wellbeing, have also been popular with volunteers. 

Whatever the cause, this week allows us to capture the essence of that volunteering spirit, where people connect in their communities and help make them better places to live in.

National Volunteer Week is an excellent time for first-timers to give volunteering a go – to be an active member of your community and help others.

Organisations like Te Atamira embrace the role that volunteers play, from assisting in front-of-house operations, special projects, behind the scenes opportunities, or at public events.

Volunteer South will be hosting a volunteer expo at Te Atamira on 21 June in partnership with Kiwi Kit Community Trust, if you’d like to find out more visit https://volunteersouth.org.nz/organisations/events 

Let's take the opportunity together, to say a heartfelt "thank you" to the volunteers of the Southland Electorate and the organisations they work with for their part in making a difference. 

We appreciate you. 

ENDS

Southland Times Column Joseph Mooney MP - June 2022

July 14, 2022 Share

RURAL SPECIALIST HEALTH SERVICES IN CRISIS

Rural health overall is in crisis in our region. The Government’s plan to address this crisis is to replace the 20 District Health Boards with a crown organisation, Health New Zealand, through its Pae Ora Healthy Futures Bill which comes into effect on 1 July 2022.

The Minister of Health Andrew Little’s sudden introduction of an amendment to his Pae Ora Healthy Futures Bill at the very last minute called a "Rural Health Strategy", demonstrates the urgent need for addressing the inequalities of our rural health workforce.

The Minister has previously been quoted as saying that his "Government is committed to building a new national health system so all New Zealanders can get the health care they need no matter who they are or where they live."

Any rural health strategy must recognise that rural communities and the rural health care workforce, including midwives, nurses and the aged care sector, have unique challenges.

I recently met with the NZ Aged Care Association where they cited underinvestment by the Government and a lack of policy or funding mechanisms to increase the supply of care beds to meet increasing demand and complexity of needs, as big issues for the sector. Another priority issue that needs addressing is the turnover of Registered Nurses (RNs) of 48 per cent (an increase of 15 per cent since December 2019), and of caregivers (26 per cent).

With 2,200 FTE nursing vacancies currently across New Zealand, one proposed solution could be a focus on encouraging graduates, experienced RNs and Nursing Practitioner interns to view aged residential care as a desirable career choice.

These shortages also affect people needing specialist services, like cancer treatment.

Some cancer patients wait excessive times to be seen by a specialist, and the funding for cancer services has not kept up with demand.

Just like the Southland Charity Hospital, the Cancer Society has had to turn to seek donations to enable them to continue caring for patients in their care. 

I have also started a fundraising campaign for the Cancer Society to try and raise as much money as I can to highlight their plight. Should I manage to raise more than $1,000, I intend to jump out of a plane to show my support to those living with cancer and create a future with less cancer in our society. You can follow my journey at https://jumpforcancer.org.nz/joseph-mooney-mp.

While I welcome the Government coming to the table by including a 'rural health strategy' in their thinking, any such strategy must provide pathways to grow our rural health workforce and sufficiently fund all services to ensure good health outcomes for our local communities.

The re-opening of the ski fields this month will be a huge relief for many businesses in the snow industry.  Not only will it bring much-needed tourism dollars to our region, I am sure that like me, many of you can’t wait to get out there and enjoy the slopes too!  

ENDS

The Ensign Column Joseph Mooney MP - June 2022

July 14, 2022 Share

RURAL HEALTH STRATEGY CRITICAL FOR SOUTHLAND

The Minister of Health Andrew Little has suddenly introduced an amendment to his Pae Ora Healthy Futures Bill at the very last minute called a "Rural Health Strategy".

This follows his announcement in March 2022 that his "Government is committed to building a new national health system so all New Zealanders can get the health care they need no matter who they are or where they live."

They aim to achieve this through the Pae Ora Healthy Futures Bill, which comes into effect on 1 July 2022 and replaces the 20 District Health Boards with a crown organisation, Health New Zealand.

However, what was glaringly missing was a focus on rural health in their reform plans for a national health system.

Rural communities and the health care workforce, including midwives, nurses and the aged care sector, have unique challenges.

The shortages in the sector impact the quality of care to communities in our region and the mental health and welfare of our rural health workforce.

Midwives who I’ve spoken to, say they find it hard to continue providing a world-class rural maternity service in rural areas due to their current working environment, and due to a lack of available midwives to service the whole region.

Aged Care is another sector who say they are in crisis. At a recent meeting with the NZ Aged Care Association, they cited underinvestment by the Government, lack of policy or funding mechanisms to increase the supply of care beds to meet increasing demand and complexity of needs, and the turnover of Registered Nurses (RNs) of 48% (an increase of 15% since December 2019), and of caregivers (26%), as some of the top issues they face.

One proposed solution could be a focus on encouraging graduates, experienced RNs and Nursing Practitioner interns to view aged residential care as a desirable career choice.

Overall, there are currently 2,200 FTE nursing vacancies across New Zealand.  These shortages also affect people needing specialist services, like cancer treatment.

Some cancer patients wait excessive times to be seen by a specialist, and the funding for cancer services has not kept up with demand.

Just like the Southland Charity Hospital, the Cancer Society has had to turn to seek donations to enable them to continue caring for patients in their care. 

While the Government has now come to the table by including a 'rural health strategy' in their thinking, any such strategy must provide pathways to grow our rural health workforce and sufficiently fund it to ensure good health outcomes for our local communities.

In the meantime, I have started a fundraising campaign for the Cancer Society to try and raise as much money as I can to highlight their plight. Should I manage to raise more than $1,000, I intend to jump out of a plane to show my support to those living with cancer and create a future with less cancer in our society.

I invite you to join my journey at https://jumpforcancer.org.nz/joseph-mooney-mp.

Clutha Leader Column Joseph Mooney MP - June 2022

July 14, 2022 Share

RURAL HEALTH AND MATERNITY SERVICES IN CRISIS

The shortages in the maternity and rural health workforce impact not only the quality of maternity care of women and their babies in our region, but the mental health and welfare of our midwives.

In March 2022, the Minister for Health Andrew Little announced that his "Government is committed to building a new national health system so all New Zealanders can get the health care they need no matter who they are or where they live."

They aim to achieve this through the Pae Ora Healthy Futures Bill, which comes into effect on 1 July 2022 and replaces the 20 District Health Boards with a crown organisation, Health New Zealand.

Rural health has, however, largely been ignored in their reform plans.

I've spoken to midwives who say they face many unique challenges in providing a world-class rural maternity service in rural areas.

The existing midwifery workforce work long hours and need to cover more families spread geographically across the electorate. Some find themselves unable to take annual leave due to no-one to cover their time away.

Extended travel times in challenging conditions road and weather dependent, and at increased costs due to high fuel prices, all add to their challenges.

In addition, midwives say they have limited health service backup for transfers of mothers and limited access to the same diagnostic and other referral services that their urban counterparts have access to.

Combined with the lack of professional development opportunities available, it is no wonder we are losing midwives out of our region.

The problem extends far wider than midwives, too, with 2,200 FTE nursing vacancies across New Zealand, affecting aged care sectors too.

The nursing shortages place an additional burden on midwives, who often have to work longer hours, or on their days off to cover for nursing staff unavailability.

When all these factors are considered together, the maternal workforce crisis can potentially put patient welfare at risk.

The first 1000 days of a baby’s life is critical to their future development and quality of life, as is maternal wellbeing in the first few days after birth. The essential role of midwives in providing pre-and postnatal care to both mum and baby cannot be understated. 

District Health Boards are responsible for ensuring an accessible and equitable maternity service for women, their babies and their families.

The Southern DHB had previously instigated a sustainability package for some rural areas. 

This package proved effective, helped retain the lead maternity carer midwifery workforce, and ensured pregnant and birthing women received appropriate and timely services.

Unfortunately, the withdrawal of many elements of this package has contributed to these workforce issues in the region. 

The Government also needs to explain why $60m of the Maternity Action Plan funding was redirected to health sector reforms when that money is sorely needed by the maternity health workforce, especially those who work in rural health.

Any health workforce development strategy must provide pathways to grow our local midwife workforce and address nurse staff shortages, as an essential enabler to achieving good health outcomes for our rural communities.

I will continue to advocate for our local midwives and rural health workforce in Parliament and make sure their voices are heard when it comes to future debates on the state of rural health in our region.

Parliamentary News from Joseph Mooney MP - June 2022

July 03, 2022 Share

Dear Connie 

School holidays are looming, and the ski fields are open just in time for the many students and their families looking forward to a mini mid-year break, and bringing much needed revenue into our region. 

It's been a busy few weeks out and about from one end of the electorate to the other, supporting local initiatives and causes while advocating for our communities and businesses.

I enjoyed opening the historic A-Class passenger carrier in Lumsden as an information kiosk, the Registered Master Builders Association Carters Lower South Island Apprentice of the Year competition in Queenstown and attending the Southland Primary Schools Cross Country event at Waimumu near Gore. 

Some other memorable visits include the Manapouri Dam and Falls Dam.  During my visit to Falls Dam, Roger Williams, Operations Manager for the Omakau Area Scheme, talked us through the importance of balancing the needs of the dam - from maintaining dam water flow to looking after the Manuherikia River's health while facilitating water for irrigation and factoring in recreational users' needs too.


Petitioning local issues

I continue to advocate for our community by asking questions in the House and writing to Ministers to highlight issues in our electorate.

While not an exhaustive list, some issues in dire need of addressing include worker shortages in the tourism, health, midwifery, and aged care sectors.  

As New Zealand woke up to a new Health NZ entity replacing DHBs on 1 July, medical practices like the Fiordland Health Centre say they still need certainty around the disparities in funding by the Ministry of Health for urban and rural medicine.  

National has launched a petition imploring the Government to immediately add nurses and midwives to the fast-track, start the fast-track process immediately and ensure the process of gaining residence is complete within three months of application. 

You can show your support by signing the petition here


Cycle Trails and DOC concessions

Uncertainty around government regulations continues to frustrate some local community initiatives that could serve both as eco-tourist attractions to the region while meeting the recreational needs of the community.

The Te Anau Cycling club says they have funding to build a new cycle trail in Snowden Park. Still, some of the issues they face include Department of Conservation regulations that currently allow for upgrading trails but not for building new trails.

I have written to the previous Minister of Conservation Kiri Allan, inviting her to attend a public meeting with the community. I'll continue to advocate for this with the new Minister, Poto Williams.

At the same time, Te Anau has had almost no international tourists over the past two years. Businesses there rely on Department of Conservation concessions to operate in the Fiordland National Park.  But there is a lot of uncertainty about the effects on businesses of the Department's Conservation Management and Processes Bill currently under consultation.


Public meeting connectivity

For some rural parts of our electorate, reliable broadband and mobile coverage connectivity is a big issue.

Melissa Lee, List MP and National Spokesperson for Broadcasting & Media, Digital Economy and Communications, will be joining me at a Public Meeting in Roxburgh on 7 July for a discussion on this. We hope you can join and share your experiences with us. Register your attendance here.



Three Waters - Make a submission

Labour has tabled a bill to ram through its Three Waters Agenda.  The Water Services Entities Bill (Three Waters) lays out the final plans for establishing a complex and unaccountable bureaucracy. National has consistently opposed Labour’s water reforms, and if elected in 2023, we will repeal and replace Three Waters.  

Please add your voice to the Three Waters opposition by making a submission here. The closing date is 22 July.


Media and staying in touch with me

In case you missed it, read my recent columns and opinion pieces:

You can also listen to my regular radio interviews with Andy Muir from the Muster, Luke Howden from Hokoniu Breakfast, and Shane Norton, Radio Central.   

Or stay up to date with my activities by following me on social media - FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

I'm planning a series of Facebook Lives every month as one more way you can connect and engage with me.  Watch our first Facebook Live recently, where I hosted Professor Aglietti, Director of the Space Institute.    

I do hope you and your family enjoy the school holidays.  Please stay in touch and reach out if ever you need a hand.

Kind regards,

Joseph Mooney
http://josephmooney.national.org.nz/




 

Parliamentary News from Joseph Mooney MP - April 2022

April 30, 2022 Share

It has been a busy month of activities and public holidays. We celebrated Easter, ANZAC Day and Ramadan in April, and soon we will be celebrating the new public holiday Matariki in June.

Mother's Day is just around the corner and I hope your family has something special planned for the wonder women in your lives!

This year, I attended the Waikaka and Drummond ANZAC services. They were both very special occasions, and hopefully, you too were able to join one of the many commemorations in honour of those who sacrificed their lives so that we can enjoy the freedoms we have today.

I hosted Leader Christopher Luxon in the electorate where we spent the day talking to local businesses who say they have been doing it tough.

I also hosted Chris Bishop MP at meetings with housing developers where we talked about the increasing costs of housing and rental costs. The Queenstown Lakes Community Housing Trust is doing great work with its housing developments in the district to support low-income families in housing. 

The cost of living is soaring, and families and businesses feel the pinch of the rising cost of basics in life, like food and fuel.  

In the lead up to Budget Day on 19 May, we are preparing to scrutinise the Government's Budget 2022/23 to ensure that they have delivered what they said they would and to hear about their plans for the upcoming fiscal year with our hard-earned taxes. 

Leader Christopher Luxon has given his pre-budget speech and you can watch it here

I'm planning post budget meetings in Queenstown and Gore in May too. Details of how you can register your attendance can be found on my website.


Three Waters and co-governance

The Government has announced that they will forge ahead with their flawed Three Waters reform programme despite most councils not supporting their centralisation and divisive co-governance agenda.    

New Zealand is a modern, multicultural society built on proud bicultural foundations. The National Party believes in inclusiveness, unity and equality for all New Zealanders – and equality for all citizens under the law.

However, the Labour Government has not been clear on what it means by ‘co-governance’.  National does not support the co-governance of public services.

Past co-governance arrangements that were made in the context of Treaty settlements have worked well. These were bounded to the management of natural resources, like rivers, by iwi working closely with local or central government. This is consistent with National’s strong view that devolution and localism work better than centralisation and bureaucracy.

We should also be celebrating the successes that the Māori economy has already achieved. Statistics reveal that as of 2018, Māori own a significant proportion of assets in the primary sectors - 50% of the fishing quota, 40% of forestry, 30% in lamb production, 30% in sheep and beef production and 10% in dairy production.

Māori-owned kiwifruit orchards also produce 13.9 million trays of gold and green fruit each year or about 10% of New Zealand's total kiwifruit exports. Māori own nearly 1,200 hectares of land devoted to kiwifruit.

2020 research report suggests that while Māori share of land in horticulture is relatively small at 5%, Māori horticulture has grown 300% since 2006. This growth is set to continue and may double in size in as little as 10 years.

In 2018, Māori also owned 5.7% of the land (1.5 million hectares and mainly freehold) of which approximately 400,000ha is farm land, with more than half used for sheep, beef and dairy farming and less than 1 per cent is dedicated to horticulture. 


Farmers facing challenging times

At our two farm Woolshed meetings in Balfour and Waimumu, farmers raised concerns around water, the current drought conditions and the burdensome regulatory reform they are facing all at the same time.

When I met with Thriving Southland and Land and Water Science we talked about the merits of interlinking Government policies for soil, water, biodiversity, and carbon.   

NZ is geologically variable and the Government's blanket policy approach is rather ineffective as a result. With 32 water catchment groups in the region, farmers say the lack of reliable data and information on pathways for economic and environmental sustainability creates real issues for informed decision-making on-farm.


Rural health crisis

Rural health is increasingly under the spotlight. Our health services are stretched, especially rural health, and we need to spare a thought for our GPs and nurses that have seen increased workloads as COVID spreads through our communities. 

While hospitals too, deal with exploding case numbers, elective and other services mustn't suffer. Access to colonoscopy, gynaecological and orthopaedic services, for example, remains an issue for many in our electorate.

The loss of Te Anau's only midwife is the tip of the iceberg of the midwifery crisis being felt across the Southland and Central Otago regions.   Since the closure of the Lumsden Maternity Centre in 2018, the problem has extended wider and poses a great risk to new mums and their babies. I have actively raised these issues with Ministers responsible for Health, Immigration and COVID-19 Response over a prolonged period.

A National government will fund a minimum of a three day stay in post-natal care for mothers and their babies and address pay claims by independent midwives. We understand the challenges of remote and rural communities.

On the flip side, while the Government dithers with government-funded cancer services, the Southland Charity Hospital building nearing completion is exciting news!

I'm in regular contact with Missy Vining and her team for updates on their cause on behalf of the community. Its success highlights the importance of addressing the issue of the lack of Government funding for cancer patients.

Mental health

Mental health and well-being too, especially for our youth, are big issues in our communities. I'm aware of a survey circulating in Te Anau looking into the mental health of rural young men, and the issue is widespread.

Considering the Government's $1.9 billion spend in this area, it is only fitting that the Auditor-General has announced that he will be investigating the "effectiveness of mental health and addiction services for young people as a group with an increasing need for mental health support".


Postal services found lacking in Queenstown

Due to outdated legislative instruments, some areas in Queenstown are not receiving postal services either. Residents of Hanley's Farm have contacted me with concerns about New Zealand Post's failure to deliver mail in their area.

They say negotiations with the state-owned enterprise New Zealand Post have reached a stalemate.  Ministers responsible for NZ Post must front and confirm what they intend to do to ensure NZ Post maintains their minimum service obligations for the delivery of postal services in Hanley's Farm as per the postal deed.  Read my press release on this issue here.

Finally, I've written to several Ministers this month, asking questions and seeking answers to the problems our communities face. I'll be feeding back their responses in the coming weeks.

You can stay up to date with my activities by signing up for my newsletter or follow me on Facebook and Twitter.  

My team and I are here to assist you in any way we can. You can reach us here. 

Kind regards,

Joseph Mooney
http://josephmooney.national.org.nz/

 

 

 



 

Loss of Te Anau's only midwife tip of iceberg in Southland and Central Otago midwifery crisis

April 23, 2022 Share

The loss of Te Anau's only midwife is the tip of the iceberg of the midwifery crisis being felt across the Southland and Central Otago regions.

An increasing number of midwives are leaving the profession due to feeling undervalued, overworked, and having ongoing questions around funding structures. Maternity staff shortage is an ongoing issue that I have actively raised with Ministers responsible for Health, Immigration and COVID-19 Response over a prolonged period.

In June 2021, I wrote to the Minister for Health, Andrew Little, requesting him to take urgent action to improve access to maternity services for women and their babies in Central Otago, Queenstown Lakes, Northern Southland, and Fiordland areas.

My concerns relate to the significant shortage of midwives in the region, the wellbeing of those employed in the health workforce, and the significant risks the combined factors pose to the safety of mothers and their babies.

When the Lumsden Maternity Centre closed in 2018, the Government said they would ensure expectant mothers would still have access to good primary and secondary health care services.

Their solution since has been to fly mothers needing critical care to hospitals in other cities just to find that some hospitals, at times, did not have enough medical staff or hospital beds to accept the incoming patients.

If flying isn’t a viable option, mothers and babies face long trips via ambulance.

Anyone who lives in Southland will be able to testify to the region's at times treacherous road infrastructure in winter and especially if combined with extreme weather challenges.

In my letter to the Minister, I used the example of an expectant mother who, unable to be admitted to Dunedin and Invercargill, was referred to Timaru Hospital. In an already potentially fatal situation, Timaru could not be accessed by helicopter due to weather, which meant a four-hour trip by ambulance.

I also raised issues about the wellbeing of our midwives and maternity nurses. Health care worker shortages have contributed to their problems due to intensifying workloads and unsustainable work hours.

The lack of evidence-based immigration policy has contributed to the crisis we face. According to answers to Parliamentary written questions by Ministers, midwifery is not currently considered a long-term skill shortage.

In the Minister's response to me in December 2021, he acknowledged that New Zealand is experiencing a shortage of midwives.

He said 'the Government recognised the importance of midwives and have made it a top priority to bolster the midwife workforce’.

He quoted Budgets 2020 and 2021 provisions that allocated $242m over four years for maternity services. The $35m Maternity Action Plan and 2021 Notice would ‘compensate midwives working in the more remote parts of New Zealand’.

Associate Minister of Health, Hon. Dr Ayesha Verrall also responded by outlining $5m in funding for clinical coaches at District Health Boards to improve midwives' working conditions.

In a press release on 14 July 2021, the Associate Minister declared, "To support them, clinical coaches will stand shoulder to shoulder with midwives on the maternity wards, caring for pregnant and birthing women's health and medical needs."

However, answers to Parliamentary questions to colleague Hon Louise Upston, Opposition Spokesperson for Social Development and Employment, suggest that the Minister could not tell how many midwives were supported to date by clinical coaches and how much of the money had already been spent.

She said that the Ministry of Health did not 'currently hold the data' nor would it be available for some 18 months.

In the meantime, while the South Canterbury District Health Board (SDHB) has echoed my concerns around midwife shortages, the DHB continues to offer fewer primary and secondary maternity services and facilities per head of population than many other district health board catchments.

SDHB has been given funding to support rural midwives, and I intend to get answers about where and how that money was spent.

With the Government steaming ahead with its centralised health restructuring efforts and using money from the maternity action plan funding that could instead be used to improve midwifery conditions, it comes at the expense of mothers and their babies in our Southland and Central Otago regions.

This Government has failed to recognise midwives' vital role in supporting mothers and their babies.

Our women and their babies deserve the same access to maternity services as other Kiwi women, and all children across the country deserve the best possible start in life.

A National government will fund a minimum of a three day stay in post-natal care for mothers and their babies and address pay claims by independent midwives. We understand the challenges of remote and rural communities. We have a track record of supporting birthing units where the evidence is clear.

In the meantime, it's time for the Ministers to act now, not wait 18 months for data that will tell them that mothers and their babies in our regions need care now.

Notes to editor:
- Copies of Joseph Mooney letters to the Ministers and their responses
- Links to Parliamentary Written Questions and their responses:

  • Midwifery clinical coaching fund - https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/order-paper-questions/written-questions/document/WQ_04384_2022/4384-2022-hon-louise-upston-to-the-associate-minister
  • Notice 21 fund rural categories - https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/order-paper-questions/written-questions/document/WQ_04357_2022/4357-2022-hon-louise-upston-to-the-associate-minister
  • https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/order-paper-questions/written-questions/document/WQ_04370_2022/4370-2022-hon-louise-upston-to-the-minister-of-immigration

 



Ministers must front on Queenstown postal service delivery failures

April 12, 2022 Share

The Government's postal deed of understanding with New Zealand Post has not kept up to date with residential growth in areas of Queenstown, resulting in residents not receiving the mail delivery service they are entitled to, says National's MP for Southland, Joseph Mooney.

"Residents of Hanley's Farm have contacted me with concerns about New Zealand Post's failure to deliver mail in their area. They say negotiations with the state-owned enterprise New Zealand Post have reached a stalemate.

"It is not good enough to say that people aren't writing enough letters to justify service delivery, and we need the Government to tell us what they intend to do about it," Mr Mooney says.

"Hanley's Point is a residential area with over 2,000 houses, so it's unclear how New Zealand Post can justify a decision not to deliver mail there."

Mr Mooney says the organisation has not engaged in good faith about the ongoing issue.

"When I first looked into this issue in 2021, it was my understanding that service delivery decisions were based on accessibility for New Zealand Post vehicles to the area, amongst others.

“Other 'viable options' were being explored to ensure the residents in those areas received an acceptable level of service. One of the temporary solutions was PO Boxes in Wakatipu Box Lobby and Queenstown Box Lobby being made available to residents, a far drive for some.

"Nothing has been done since and this is not good enough," says Mr Mooney.

"It is part of a trend we are seeing under this Labour Government with government departments failing communities with inadequate and outdated service delivery plans.

“As households in affected areas are currently being surveyed with the results due later this month, I intend to meet with the community to discuss the results and next steps.

"I have asked the Ministers in charge of State-Owned Enterprises and their operations, David Clarke and Megan Woods, to confirm what they intend to do to ensure New Zealand Post maintains its minimum service obligations for the delivery of postal services to Hanley's Farm as per the postal deed of understanding with the Government.

“This deed guarantees a commitment by New Zealand Post to add new delivery points upon request, subject to due diligence work being carried out,” he says.

"I would also like to know what the outcome was of the planned review of the deed in March 2021 and whether there was any public consultation about it."

ENDS

 

Government ignoring democratic process in Three Waters steamroll

October 27, 2021 Share

The Government’s decision to push through legislation so it can steamroll ahead with its Three Waters Reforms shows a complete disregard for the voices of New Zealanders and due democratic process, MP for Southland Joseph Mooney says.

“It is extraordinary to see the Labour Government push through legislation to allow the establishment of four entities which will strip councils of their ownership and control of local water assets.”

“This is an asset grab and a clear case of the Government again doing whatever it wants regardless of how strongly New Zealanders object to their overwhelming desire for centralisation.”

Read more